US military to honor temporary Taliban cease-fire during Ramadan

US military to honor temporary Taliban cease-fire during Ramadan
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The U.S. military on Thursday said it will honor Afghanistan’s temporary cease-fire with the Taliban during a religious holiday, but will keep up counterterrorism efforts against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani earlier Thursday announced the cease-fire, meant to last until June 20 and coincide with the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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“We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict,” U.S. Forces-Afghanistan head Gen. John Nicholson said in a statement.

In a message on Twitter, Ghani said the ceasefire “is an opportunity for Taliban to introspect that their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause.”

He noted that the Afghan National Security Forces will “continue to target Daesh and other foreign backed terrorist organizations and their affiliates.”

Earlier this week the Ulema, a gathering of 3,000 religious scholars, issued a decree calling for a cease of hostilities between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

And in February, Ghani called for peace talks with the Taliban.

“President Ghani’s peace offer was universally supported by the international community and the ceasefire represents another bold initiative for peace, and is for the benefit of all Afghans,” Nicholson said. 

Nicholson late last month said that factions within the Taliban are open to peace talks and are involved in secret negotiations with government officials to end the war.